Big night to thank the stars of our community

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Kiran Merrick donated bone marrow to his little brother to help him deal with a chronic disease.

Ryan Armstrong, who is just 11, acts as a carer for his mum Sue who suffers from fibromyalgia by doing the cooking, cleaning and shopping as well as his homework.

Determined Sophie Mortimore ran a three-mile race despite undergoing a 10-hour operation to fix a curvature of her spine.

And Stephen Ayling ran three marathons in a year to raise more than £3,000 for a children’s cancer charity.

These are all inspirational people who have gone above and beyond to do amazing things for themselves and the people they care about – and they’re not the only ones.

Have a look at pages eight and nine today and you will find dozens of other heart-warming and inspiring tales of people scattered across our community who have gone the extra mile to help others.

All of their achievements have occurred in the past year.

Until now, they have been unsung heroes, doing their part not for recognition, but because they want to.

But thanks to The News, and our partners who agree they deserve a little recognition, we have shone a light on them for all to see.

Last night was this newspaper’s annual We Can Do It awards celebration, a fun-packed afternoon of entertainment for those selfless individuals to enjoy.

In these often-cynical times it is a refreshing pleasure to honour those who go out of their way to bring a ray of sunshine into the drudgery of other people’s daily lives.

We feel privileged to be able to highlight the stories of these people each year.

And now we head towards a new year, with new inspiration for us.

Nominations are opening already, so what are you waiting for?

Tell us who your unsung heroes are and help us give them the recognition they deserve.